An insight into how and why colleges add sports

Marshalltown Community College has six sports available for student-athletes currently: men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s baseball, women’s softball, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

Sports are always coming and going from college campuses around the United States, no matter the level of competition. Recently, multiple schools in the state of Minnesota at the Division II level decided to close down their football programs.

Meanwhile, some schools are adding sports — whether that’s eSports like Hawkeye Community College or the addition of football for schools like University of North Carolina-Charlotte, who went from not having a program to playing at a Division I level in 10 years. It all depends on the situation of the college.

But on the small scale, Marshalltown Community College has been pretty static. The school has three men’s sports and three women’s sports — soccer, basketball and baseball for men and basketball, volleyball and softball for women.

If the Tigers wanted to go through the process of adding a sport in 2020 or the near future, what would the process be?

New MCC Athletics Director John Kriegs hasn’t had to go through the process since his July appointment, but he does bring years of experience at big universities. Kriegs spent 19 years in the athletic department at Division I Fresno State University, where he worked with nine different athletic directors and saw a fair amount of change.

Kriegs said when the school considered adding a sport, three key things were discussed:

• The need

• Whether there would be enough funding to support the sport

• Participation numbers to merit its inclusion.

He said that keeping an eye on Title IX to make sure the school was in compliance had an impact on decision-making as well.

“We took a deep look at interest in the area and community,” Kriegs said.

One of the sports Fresno State added was a risk bigger than others Kriegs saw. When the Bulldogs added lacrosse, he said it was a shot in the dark.

“Lacrosse is an East Coast sport,” Kriegs said. “Nobody on the West Coast had lacrosse, and neither did any of the high schools in our area.”

Five years after adding it, he said the sport had made an impact in the area. Schools picked it up despite the kids on the team being from the East Coast, having realized they had the potential to be a feeder school for their local university.

There’s been no indication MCC is in the process of adding a sport to its lineup at this juncture, Kriegs’s experience has given him a good idea of what would be necessary for it to happen at a small school if the time came.

Fan interest — key to any school’s hope of adding sports — has been good in his short time at the school, he said. But there is room for improvement.

“I think it’s been good, I think it’s got a long way to go,” Kriegs said. “We’ve still got to get through that Highway 30 isn’t a wall and that it could be good, could be great.”


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